East Bengal named Mridul Banerjee as replacement for Trevor Morgan who stepped down as coach on Monday. Mridul Banerjee, who guided Bengal to a Santosh Trophy title after six years last month, will be in charge for the rest of the season that ends with the Federation Cup in May.
“It is surprising that East Bengal have slumped like this because they have so many good players. I will have to speak to players to find out what went wrong. I am sure these players can do better,” said Mridul Banerjee on Tuesday.
Mridul Banerjee was a somewhat late entrant into the list of possible candidates to succeed Morgan. Former East Bengal and India coach Armando Colaco had emerged frontrunner after a senior East Bengal official got in touch with him on Monday.
Armando Colaco, it was learnt, had conveyed his availability to the official. In the evening, Armando Colaco had even spoken of being in Kolkata soon to watch East Bengal’s two remaining games in the I-League.
Around the time Armando Colaco was reportedly talking about getting to Kolkata, the Bengal team for the Santosh Trophy was being felicitated by the Indian Football Association (IFA).
The move to get Banerjee for the rest of the season may have materialised on Monday evening with officials of the IFA asking East Bengal to consider him.
That East Bengal legend Manoranjan Bhattacharya was part of the trio, along with Bhaskar Ganguly and Tushar Rakshit, asked to choose the next coach also may have played a part.
Manoranjan Bhattacharya heads the coaches committee of the IFA which chose Banerjee to lead the Santosh Trophy campaign.
At a media conference on Tuesday to present Banerjee, both Bhattacharya and Ganguly said they know Mridul Banerjee for a long time.
Mridul Banerjee has been part of the East Bengal coaching staff and Karim Bencharifa’s assistant at Mohun Bagan.
His last assignment before the Santosh Trophy was with Mohammedan Sporting in the Kolkata league. His playing career was cut short by an injury.
Having lost four straight games in the 10th I-League, East Bengal blew their chances of a maiden title. East Bengal host Minerva FC on Sunday and play the last round away to Mumbai FC, on April 29-30.